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Hauptseminar mit Übung: Colonial and Postcolonial Memories in Ibero-American Cities - Details
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General information

Semester SS 2021
Current number of participants 1
Home institute Romanische Literaturwissenschaft (Iberoromania)
Courses type Hauptseminar mit Übung in category Teaching
Next date Wed , 14.04.2021 10:15 - 11:45
Performance record Students interested in obtaining credits for this seminar must prepare a presentation of one of the mandatory texts and write a term paper (seminar) or project report (practice).
Online/Digitale Veranstaltung Veranstaltung wird online/digital abgehalten.
Hauptunterrichtssprache englisch
Weitere Unterrichtssprache(n) deutsch

Course location / Course dates

n.a Wednesday: 10:15 - 11:45, weekly

Module assignments

Comment/Description

In the last decades, attention has been drawn to conflicts and power relations that are at the center of decisions about what counts as heritage and collective memory. Like any other cultural practice aimed at remembering and constructing the identity of a community, the definition of heritage is the result of struggles that bring about broader structures of hegemony (Bennett 1988). As Stuart Hall (2004) explains, heritage functions as the embodiment of the imagined spirit of a nation. Thus, conflicts over memory are often related to narratives that tell the past through hegemonic lenses, while casting invisibility and silence to other possible ways of conceiving the past (Urry 1998; Bhabha 1990). Legacies related to imperialism, colonial enterprises, and slavery are still inscribed in non-critical ways in the urban space in Ibero-American former colonies and former metropolises. In this seminar, we engage with these themes while focusing on decisions on the determination and management of heritage. The memory of the colonial past is spatialized, among others, through artifacts collected in museums, monuments, colonial buildings, and decisions towards street names (Riegel 1996). Urban palimpsests are coined through the selective visibility of urban interventions that celebrate 'white' and nationalistic legacies that cast invisibility to state terror, genocides, 'non-white' and female resistances, as well as subaltern agency and art (Coombes 1988; Huissen 2003). As decolonial and critical memory scholars have argued, the decisions that imprint eurocentrism and coloniality of knowledge in the public space are not only material. They are also epistemic. Here material inequalities and discursive legacies connect in contingent ways, reinstating the multiple temporalities of long-lasting dichotomies around: modernity, civilization, progress, aesthetics, and culture.
By studying the various (post)colonial layers of Ibero-American urban spaces, students will be able to identify classic topics on memory studies and to apply postcolonial and decolonial theory to the study of the spatialization of ‘difficult’ memories (Macdonald 2009) elsewhere.

Cited Works
Bennett, T. (1988). The Exhibitionary Complex. New formations , 4, 73-102.
Bhabha, H. K. (1990). Nation and Narration. London & New York: Routledge.
Coombes, A. E. (1988). Museums and the Formation of National and Cultural Identities. Oxford Art Journal , 11 (2), 57-68.
Hall, S. (2004). Whose Heritage? Un-settling ‚the Heritage’, Re-imagining the Post-Nation. In J. Littler & R. Naidoo, The Politics of Heritage: The Legacies of Race. Abingdon: Taylor and Francis, 23-35.
Huyssen, A. (2003) Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Macdonald, S. (2009). Difficult Heritage: Negotiating the Nazi Past in Nuremberg and Beyond. London & New York: Routledge.
Riegel, H. (1996). Into the Heart of Irony: Ethnographic Exhibitions and the Politics of Difference. Sociological Review Monograph , 43 (2), 83-104.
Urry, J. (1998). How Societies Remember the Past. In S. Macdonald & G. Fyfe, Theorizing Museums: Representing Identity and Diversity in a Changing World. Maldem: Blackwell Publishers, 45-69.

Admission settings

The course is part of admission "Zeitgesteuerte Anmeldung: SoSe 2021 Romanische Literaturwissenschaft (Iberoromania)".
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  • The enrolment is possible from 15.02.2021, 00:00 to 16.04.2021, 23:00.